At a time when no other rumored cabinet picks are talking, that's just what Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel did this morning at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. The Nebraska senator gave a speech entitled "Toward a Bipartisan Foreign Policy."
So first, why is Hagel talking? Marc Ambinder thinks this means Hagel is out of contention for a spot in the Obama cabinet. Michael Abramowitz still thinks Hagel is a "live possibility" for the cabinet -- and others consider secretary of defense the best option for the decorated Vietnam veteran.
The senator makes the GOP wish list for the cabinet, and that might mean more than we think given Obama's promises of bipartisanship -- especially since Hagel traveled to Iraq with Obama this summer and has broken with his party on the war.
From his comments today, I think he could still be in the running for a post. His remarks -- decidedly big-picture, painted a vision of foreign policy and domestic political cooperation for the next administration. A few key points:
- Today, the senator said, is "one of those historic confluences" where the world will have to "reorder, restructure, and redefine" the world order.
- Senator Hagel linked despair and desperation to much of the world's insecurity, suggesting that "quality of life and standards of living" were the foundations of stability in a world where nearly five sixths of the population live in developing countries.
- Hagel demonstrated a clear esteem for international institutions such as the United Nations, stating that he believes those bodies will be even more important in the next 25 years than in the past. The world, as he put it, is more interconnected, complicated, and "combustible."
- When asked about development, Senator Hagel praised Defense Secretary Robert Gates for his speeches throughout the country on the need to take militarization out of foreign policy. "Bob Gates understands this better than anybody at the White House," he said.
Sounds like a good pitch for succeeding Gates at the Pentagon to me.
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